Over the course of his lengthy career, Regina-born artist Anthony Thorn pursued a distinctive vision that united painterly craft with a deep knowledge of artistic traditions from around the world. This exhibition celebrates a recent acquisition of forty-eight works from the collection of Tony Colella, Thorn’s most important collector for nearly three decades. The exhibition affords a broad understanding of the major developments in Thorn’s career, and recognizes a generous financial gift from Lyn Goldman, Thorn’s sister, that accompanied the acquisition.
Thorn was among the first generation of artists to experiment with abstraction in Regina during the 1950s. After studies in Chicago, Paris, and Mexico City, he forged an independent path, drawing on diverse currents of twentieth-century art, a broad knowledge of art history, and a concern for the spiritual dimensions of human experience, to develop his own, intensely personal style of artmaking.
Thorn is notable for having worked under the great Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros during a sojourn in Mexico City in 1955. Moses Diptych, recently restored and included in the adjacent exhibition, Ten Artists of Saskatchewan: 1955 Revisited, bears witness to the visionary intensity of Thorn’s Mexican work.
In his essays for the recent publication, For the Honour of Art: Essays and Opinions, Thorn reveals himself to be an independent mind tuned to the many currents of philosophy, art history, and religion that shaped twentieth-century art and thought. Together with his work, they present a portrait of a painter who reveled in his craft and the enchanting lore of the studio.